The Question of the Subject
The subjects in question in this seminar are primarily drawn from the late 20th and early 21st century U.S. roster of those who have long enjoyed a place in this “imagined community” and more recent entrants to it. Among them are: “white”Americans, the self reliant or self actualizing individual , (law abiding ) citizens, the normatively embodied, the homonormative, and the neoliberal and/or global multiculturalist. What binds these different configurations of “the people” as a unity is their embrace by historically situated (re) definitions of the human. This seminar enlists contemporary critical theory, literature and visual media that variously interrogate the hegemonic construction of humanity and poses alternatives to this formation.
Students electing this course should expect to grapple with contemporary critical theory and to put these arguments in conversation with literature and visual media as theories in their own right. My aim is to facilitate the formation of a collaborative intellectual community; a good part of this will depend upon your engagement with assigned readings and importation of other texts—perspectives and arguments --into our discussion.